Farmers and landowners are being urged to tell Neil Parish MP their experiences of fly-tipping in the countryside ahead of a parliamentary forum on the issue.
Mr Parish, chairman of the influential Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, is leading a debate about the impact of fly-tipping in rural areas – and he wants to hear your experiences.
The two-hour Westminster Hall debate will take place on Tuesday (17 April). It will be broadcast live on Parliament TV.
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said: “Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime.
“There has been a surge in fly-tipping recently. If you have been affected by fly-tipping please do let me know. We need a solution which will penalise those who commit the crime, not those who clean it up.”
The CLA, NFU and Countryside Alliance have long campaigned on the problem of fly-tipping in the countryside.
Last year, councils recorded 1m fly-tipping incidents in England, the equivalent of 114 every hour, costing local authorities £58m.
But faming organisations believe these figures reveal only half the story because, as the law stands, landowners are liable for the costs of clearing fly-tipped waste from private land – and therefore many choose not to report incidents. If they don’t act, they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste.
Last April, Farmers Weekly launched Stop the Blot, a campaign to raise awareness of the dreadful impact of fly-tipping on farms and in the countryside.
Our campaign, supported by CLA Insurance, is calling for tougher punishments to be meted out to fly-tippers and changes in legislation to ensure that innocent landowners are not unfairly penalised.
CLA: 200% increase in fly-tipping
The organisation has published a five-point plan which urges the government to take steps to tackle fly-tipping in the countryside (see ‘Tackling the blight of fly-tipping – the CLA’s five point plan’, below).
The CLA says its members reported a 200% increase in fly-tipping on private land in just three years. The organisation is supporting the government proposal to introduce fixed penalty notices for householders who do not dispose of their waste through proper legal channels.
CLA legal adviser Andrew Gillett said: “It is a complete injustice that private landowners who experience fly-tipping are then subject to becoming a criminal themselves if they do not clear up and pay for the mess to be disposed of. If they must clear it up themselves they should not be charged for disposing of it legally.”
The Countryside Alliance believes more needs to be done to bring the perpetrators to justice, including the seizure of vehicles used for fly-tipping. The alliance also wants more support for landowners, including anti-fly-tip measures and the use of compensation orders.
Tackling the blight of fly-tipping – the CLA’s five point plan
- Impose and enforce penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime – seizure of vehicles must be the default penalty to send a clear signal that criminals will face damaging consequences if they are caught fly-tipping.
- Enforce fines for home and business owners whose waste is found in fly-tipped locations – to act as a deterrent and encourage waste disposal through legal channels.
- Appoint a national “fly-tipping tsar” – whose responsibilities would include co-ordinating with national agencies to tackle organised criminal gangs, monitoring and reporting on the scale of the problem across public and private land, and benchmarking enforcement performance.
- Develop new ways to aid clear up and support victims, such as a new scheme to allow any private landowner to dispose of fly-tipped waste free of charge, and removing the landowner’s liability to clear up waste on private land.
- Promote education and working in partnership, but sharing best practice and advising landowners on how to reduce the chance of being a victim of fly-tipping. Examples of local partnerships include shared CCTV monitoring schemes, Countryside Watch and incident intelligence sharing, which should be showcased.
Stop the Blot
Fly-tippers are ruining our countryside and clean-up costs are crippling farm businesses. That’s why we have launched our Stop the Blot campaign to help raise awareness of the damage caused by fly-tipping and tackle the growing epidemic on farms.